Annabel Heseltine

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Annabel Mary Dibdin Heseltine (born 25 July 1963) is a journalist, columnist and TV and radio broadcaster. She is editor of the education magazine First Eleven.

Early life[edit]

Born in London, she is the eldest daughter of the politician and former deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine and Lady Heseltine, née Anne Williams. She was educated at Cobham Hall, Tudor Hall and Stowe School. At Stowe she achieved a B, a C, and two Ds in her A-levels, grades which in 2001 she described as "atrocious by today's standards". She suspects that, like her children, she is dyslexic.[1] In 1985 Heseltine graduated from Durham University with a degree in Economic History. Later in life she obtained an MA in Wildlife Management and Conservation at Reading University in 2006.


While she was at university, Heseltine trained as a fashion buyer at Bloomingdales in New York, with a view to pursuing a career in fashion. However, after two years working in advertising with the ad agency, Darcy Masius, Benton and Bowles in London and six months working for Restaurant and Hotel PR agency, Alan Crompton-Batt Associates, she settled on journalism as a career.

Aged 22, she became the Assistant-editor for the Hong Kong Tatler in 1986. In 1990, Heseltine was contracted to the Daily Mail's YOU magazine. Subsequently, she worked for The Times, Sunday Times'' and The Daily Telegraph.[2] She has also contributed to magazines including Vogue, The Economist, the New Statesman,[3] Earth Magazine, Harpers and Queen and Hi-Life. Following her coverage of the outbreak of Rwandan civil war, when she was one of the first journalists to enter the country, she briefly joined the news room of The Sunday Times as a reporter before returning to feature writing again.

As a single woman during the 1990s Bridget Jones phenomenon, Heseltine epitomised the phenomenon being an unmarried career woman in her early thirties and was quick to capitalise on a fascination with this new breed of woman who seemed to have it all but was now losing it all.[4]

Later she was one of the first people to talk to about the sorrows of an ectopic pregnancy.[5] Her own experiences as an older mother unable to conceive a live baby[6] and subsequent walk down the IVF route was well documented.[7] His advocacy of the legalisation of drugs led her father, while deputy prime minister, to dissociate himself from her opinions on the issue.[8]

Her work as a feature writer and columnist, both in print on the web (including her work for the women's website, iVillage), and more recently the Weekly Wrinkle, has covered education[9] social mores, relationships[10] and marriage.[11]

As a travel and conservation writer, she has covered issues including the bush trade, rhino extinction, wolf reintroduction, dolphin slaughter in Japan[12] and ecotourism in Africa.[13] She has also written extensively about health[14] and was one of the founding editors for the upmarket concierge company, Quintessentially.[15]

Heseltine wrote and produced two short magazines for Lewa Downs Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya. In 2002, she took three years off to have four children and complete a master's degree, before setting up EcoPhilanthropy Ltd with partner Dr Samantha Pullen, to advise philanthropists wishing to donate to African-based conservation projects. She still retains contact with Africa but more recently Heseltine has focused on education as the editor of First Eleven magazine, written for the parents of children educated in the independent sector.

As a commentator and TV and radio broadcaster she has appeared on news and chat shows including The World at One, The Today Programme, Panorama, BBC News 24, Woman's Hour, Esther, Richard Littlejohn alongside Ken Livingstone, Melvyn Bragg and Kilroy, discussing current affairs and subjects as diverse as IVF, dyslexia, Single Women, Aids in Zambia, footballers, the fur industry and the 1997 Hong Kong hand over.

Before her marriage, Heseltine travelled extensively, especially in Africa, meeting and interviewing luminaries across the world. This included the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, and Mechai Viravaidya the "Condom King", a former senior government minister widely attributed with reducing the population growth rate in Thailand by popularising the condom in fairly explicit and, at the time, unorthodox ways.

Heseltine sits on the advisory committee for the Museum of English Rural Life at Reading University, and is a patron of Tusk Trust, the UK-based African conservation charity.[16]

Personal life[edit]

On 19 November 1998, Heseltine married Irish-born consultant plastic surgeon Peter Butler (born 1 September 1962), Professor of Plastic Surgery at University College London, Medical Director of the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, and lead surgeon of the British face transplantation team.

The couple have four children: Mungo, Isabella, Rafferty and Monty; all of whom have been diagnosed with dyslexia. The family live in Monmouthshire, and have an apartment in London.[17]


  1. ^ Julie Henry (20 November 2011). "Dyslexia may explain my school failure, says Annabel Heseltine". Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Heseltine, Annabel (14 July 2006). "It's a workhorse – not a Chelsea tractor". The Daily Telegraph. 
  3. ^ Conrtributor page, New Statesman
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Don't give up Sophie". Daily Mail. 17 September 2013. 
  6. ^;+Two+ectopic+pregnancies,+one+miscarriage,+years+of...-a091356708
  7. ^ Annabel Heseltine (7 August 2002). "'I was wracked with guilt'". London Evening Standard. [permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Heseltine snubs daughter's views on drugs", The Independent, 30 March 1996
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ " A daily destination for everything that matters to women". iVillage. Archived from the original on 19 September 2003. 
  11. ^ "Couples v singles". Daily Mail. 17 September 2013. 
  12. ^ Annabel Heseltine. "The Blood of Dolphins | Earth Island Institute". 
  13. ^ Kenya (13 November 1999). "Kenya: First hearts, then minds". The Daily Telegraph. 
  14. ^ "Health". The Times. 5 August 2014. 
  15. ^ [2] Archived 31 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Patrons of Tusk Trust, Tusk Trust
  17. ^ "Michael Heseltine's daughter reveals four of former deputy PM's grandchildren suffer from dyslexia". Daily Mail. 30 November 2011. 

External links[edit]